Intro to SMS Bulk Messaging, Frontline SMS and a homegrown SMS Gateway

Posted by KatrinVerclas on Dec 11, 2005

MobileActive held its first conference call for activists, exploring sms bulk messaging. 

Thanks to Ben Rigby of Mobile Voter! Audio of the conversation is here. (thank you, Eric!)

Notes from the call -a Primer on Bulk SMS messaging (focused on the US, for the most part) are here on the MobileActive resource wiki.

Topics discussed included:
* what is bulk text messaging?
* how does it work through an SMS gateway and through an aggregator?
* what are the pros and cons of either method?
* what are other systems (FrontlineSMS, and others) and how do they work?
* what does it cost?
* what is the connection to applications such as CiviCRM (a constituency relationship management system) and Drupal?

Meanwhile, MobileActive Justin Oberman wrote a feature of Frontline SMS, a low-cost tool for small sms campaigns:

He writes:

"...many NFP's and NGO's (both in Africa and around the world) have become interested in text messaging and the mobile medium because of its ability to provide the most poor and usually unconnected people in the world with cheap real-time information and communication. Most organizations that have worked with, built or implemented a non-web mobile solutions have, for the most part, been doing it for themselves. “Nobody was really thinking about the wider bigger picture,” says Banks [developer of Frontline SMS). "These systems are owned and custom made by and for the organizations that use them. Most organizations don’t have the funds to do what these larger organizations have done,” Banks continues, “It is the mass market that's not really being serviced. There was nothing being developed that people could just pick off the shelf and take home." In a world where so many NGOs share the same goals, whether it be the alleviation of poverty or the conservation of wildlife, this situation represents duplicated effort and wasted resources.

So Banks developed FrontlineSMS, an affordable, standalone turn-key 'out-of-the-box' solution that allows small organizations, NGO's, charities, etc. the ability to access 'group' SMS technology anywhere a mobile network signal can be reached. No connection to the Internet necessary. "The design and development of the FrontlineSMS system is based on kiwanja’s central focus of low cost, high impact interventions," says Banks. The software easily allows any organization to have their own SMS hub. They don't have to pay huge amounts for equipment, server space, Common Short Codes, Internet or geek power. All that's needed is a PC (with USB), the software, a mobile-to-PC connection cord, a mobile phone or GSM modem (with Sim Card) and network coverage."

MobileActive Dan Lane has written an overview on how to set up an bootstrapped sms gateway on a Debian computer here

If you have a story, resource, or tool that you want to share, or a topic you want to learn more about, add a comment! 





Regarding sms hub

how can a organization have its own sms hub. can u explain

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